Today we share some significant news from Gemma Services (formerly theVillage and Silver Springs – Martin Luther School). At the October 22, 2020 meeting of Gemma’s Board of Directors, the Board voted unanimously to cease all operations of the Rosemont Residential Program, which includes the Gemma School. Additionally, we will be seeking an alternative location in the vicinity to continue our Outpatient work in Delaware County.
This decision was not made lightly and follows years of hard work and analysis by many hands. We want to take some time in this letter to explain why this decision was made as well as how it will affect the youth we serve, the Gemma staff who work at Rosemont, and our greater Gemma community. While we want to ensure you are aware of this important decision and to provide context, we look forward to connecting with you individually very soon.
Over the last five years, and following an extended period during which the program had been unsustainable, the legacy Village Board and leadership worked tirelessly to provide a safe residential treatment home for hundreds of adolescent females. This investment of time and resources was not made in vain, but rather always with the mission at the forefront of the work. When we merged and became Gemma, we were hopeful that together, with our combined expertise, we would be able to find ways to make the Rosemont Residential Program more viable, including appealing to our funders to be reimbursed for what the program costs. After studying it for a year now, and despite the massive overall investment and excellent treatment provided by our dedicated staff, we concluded that the residential program could not become viable.
Gemma is committed to making sure the youth currently in our care will transition smoothly and to the appropriate placement. We also are committed to helping our affected employees transition successfully for whatever is next for them. We will not close the program until all of the youth have been moved to an appropriate placement.
Despite this sad news, we believe the future of Gemma is bright. This news does not mean we are getting out of residential treatment, rather that we are pivoting, much like many in our industry, to consider alternative ways to provide services to youth in more home-like community settings. Moreover, we are exploring new ways to serve Southwest Philadelphia, which is where theVillage has very deep roots. We are looking at continuing to provide educational services in the Martin Luther School model to high school students. We will continue to explore additional programs that will enable us to serve even more children, youth, and families. As these initiatives take shape, we will of course keep you updated.
Through your generosity you have helped make it possible for Gemma to support children and families in our region with the vital services we offer. You are part of a legacy of supporters that goes back to 1877 for theVillage and 1859 for Silver Springs, and your generosity will carry Gemma forward into the future. When the Robinson family so generously donated the Rosemont Campus in 1959, it represented a significant crossroads for our organization, one of many in our history. Here again at another crossroads, we want to acknowledge how difficult this change is, and when we connect with you, we look forward to discussing this news and how we imagine our mission will evolve with this change. We can share with you some of the opportunities we see for how we can serve more children and families through our work, which remains our touchstone.
Thank you for your support, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time.
Kristen E.M. Gay, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Joseph C. Ragaglia, Esq.
Chair, Board of Directors